Shaun Lowthorpe, Business editor
Monday, January 20, 2014
New research from R3, the insolvency trade body, supports signs of significant business growth across the East of England and reinforces predictions of an upsurge in the local economy in 2014.
According to R3’s latest Business Distress Index, a record 82pc of Eastern region businesses are now showing at least one key indicator of growth, with over half (59pc) declaring an increase in sales volumes and a similar number (51pc) experiencing increased profits. Almost half (40pc) say their business is expanding and over one third (36pc) say they are growing their market share.
R3 has tracked five key indicators of UK business growth since March 2012, covering investment in equipment, increased sales volume, business expansion, increased profits, and growing market share. In R3’s latest survey, all East of England indicators have hit record highs, growing by unprecedented double digits since R3’s summer survey.
R3’s Eastern region chairman Shay Lettice, a partner at East Anglia accountancy firm Peters Elworthy & Moore, said: “These latest results are a welcome sign that the recovery is bedding in and gaining ground. The number of businesses with increased profits has more than doubled since the summer from 23pc to 51pc, and there is a similar story with regard to market share and investment in new equipment.
“After such a prolonged period of stuttering growth, this is highly encouraging. We’ve never seen such a rapid improvement from one survey to the next and I very much welcome being able to talk about good news for a change.”
R3’s latest survey also highlighted that half (51pc) of East of England businesses are feeling positive about their trading prospects and expect business activity to increase in 2014.
Mr Lettice added: “The willingness of businesses to feel more positive about their long-term future suggests a level of business confidence that has previously been missing. If this change in attitude can unlock business investment, then that bodes well for full economic recovery.”
Question marks surround the fate of several development projects in and around King’s Lynn after the developers behind the project went into administration.